Get ready to laugh & cry - Half Baked {book review}

Half Baked by Alexa Stevenson is a memoir worth reading. 

“When you give birth to a baby who weighs less than two pounds, no one knows what kind of flowers to send,’’ she writes. Her daughter, Simone, was born 15 weeks early. It's a story many of us here in the hello preemie world can relate to.

Stevenson was an author of a very popular blog before she was a mother. And this matters, because it's not easy to make a tale of infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, and extreme prematurity relatable and uplifting unless you're a very skillful storyteller. Fortunately, Stevenson is. 

I don't want to give too much away, so I'll just share a basic outline of the adventure she takes us on. We begin by getting to know the author as an anxiety-ridden woman with a great sense of humor struggling with infertility. 

"Infertility has much in common with those reality shows in which the contestants eat live, writhing scorpions washed down with a warm tumbler of pus. In both cases one endures and even seeks out a series of indignities, all in the tenuous hope of receiving a prize that will make the process ultimately worthwhile....I welcomed specula, nozzles, small scalpels, catheters, thermometers, ultrasound wands, swabs, a syringe of radioactive dye, and - by my count - nine highly trained medical specialists into my vagina. Nine. That's a baseball team."

After infertility, there is the surprise of a twin pregnancy, the tragedy of losing one twin at 22 weeks while remaining pregnant with her daughter, and then a long, difficult road in the NICU.  We journey with her as she shares her mildly-neurotic and decidedly humorous take on everything, and we see her thrive as she grows into motherhood. As a reviewer on goodreads says so perfectly, "She has a wonderful, self-deprecating sense of humor that makes her the most likable almost-crazy person you'll ever meet. As things begin to go very, very wrong, she keeps her sense of humor and discovers that her chronic, high-level anxiety can even be an asset in the worst of situations." (Heather) 

Throughout “Half Baked,’’ so many things go wrong for Stevenson that sometimes it feels as if the only thing she has going for her is her sense of humor. Even the good days are hard but she keeps us smiling alongside her through the absurdity of it all. 

While this story is sad and shocking, it's also funny, inspiring and hopeful.  She doesn't ever give the readers a sense that she's feeling sorry for herself, nor does she expect us to feel sorry for her or her daughter. Rather, I feel as if her story is a gift - she delivers to us an opportunity to witness how one strong, slightly neurotic women (who feels anything but strong) can endure and triumph with a little luck, a little obsessing, and plenty of laughter. 

reviewsTrish Ringleybooks